AP English Language & Composition Crash Course, 2nd Edition

AP English Language & Composition Crash Course, 2nd Edition

by Dawn Hogue


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REA's AP® English Language and Composition Crash Course® is the top choice for the last-minute studier or any student who wants a quick refresher on the course.

Written by Dawn Hogue, M.A., an AP English teacher with many years of classroom experience, the book gives students the topics and critical context that will matter most on exam day.

Crash Course® puts AP® test candidates on the inside track to a higher score. Packed with powerful test strategies and unmatched insight into the workings of the exam, the book equips students to effectively apply the skills demanded of test-takers. In addition, the author provides tips for mastering the multiple-choice questions as well as the three required essays, with special emphasis on handling the synthesis essay.

The book comes with a true-to-format full-length online practice test with diagnostic feedback, automatic scoring, and detailed answer explanations to allow students to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses so they can gauge their test-readiness.

New to this second edition of REA's AP® English Language and Composition Crash Course® is a chapter with AP-style practice questions to help you maximize your score. 

With REA's Crash Course®, students can prep more efficiently, reinforcing the crucial concepts and boosting their AP® score.

About REA's Prep:

Fully aligned with the AP® English Language and Composition Exam

Quick Review format is perfect for time-crunched AP® students

Focuses on key skills and must-know content

Full-length online practice exam with diagnostic feedback based on official College Board materials

New second edition include a chapter with AP®-style practice questions to help you maximize your score

About the Author

Dawn Hogue has taught all levels of high school English and was an AP® English teacher for the Sheboygan Falls School District, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin for many years. Ms. Hogue received her B.A. in English, graduating Summa Cum Laude, from Lakeland College, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She earned her M.A. in Education from Lakeland College, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and her M.S. in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

She is interested in promoting technology and web resources in the classroom and maintains a website (www.mshogue.com) for that purpose. English Language and Composition Crash Course is the second Crash Course Ms. Hogue has written for REA. She is also the author of English Literature and Composition Crash Course.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738612393
Publisher: Research & Education Association
Publication date: 07/31/2018
Series: Advanced Placement (AP) Crash Course
Edition description: Second
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 119,244
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Dawn Hogue has taught all levels of high school English and was an AP® English teacher for the Sheboygan Falls School District, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin for many years. Ms. Hogue received her B.A. in English, graduating Summa Cum Laude, from Lakeland College, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She earned her M.A. in Education from Lakeland College, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and her M.S. in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

She is interested in promoting technology and web resources in the classroom and maintains a website (www.mshogue.com) for that purpose. English Language and Composition Crash Course is the second Crash Course Ms. Hogue has written for REA. She is also the author of English Literature and Composition Crash Course.

Read an Excerpt


Keys for Success on the AP English Language and Composition Exam

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. — Colin Powell


Congratulations! You have chosen to enhance your AP English Language study with the help of this Crash Course. You are a person who wants to know more and go further. That speaks well of your intent to do what it takes to succeed. In the chapters that follow, you will get content-specific help, tips for success, and general insight about what you need to know to be successful on the AP English Language and Composition exam. This chapter gives you a glimpse into the structure and scoring of the exam as well as general ways you can prepare yourself for the big day in May.


Part I: Multiple Choice — There are typically 4 or 5 passages to read and 52 to 55 multiple-choice questions to answer in 60 minutes. This section represents 45 percent of your total score.

Part II: Free Response — You are given a 15-minute reading period, then 120 minutes to write three essays: a synthesis essay, a rhetorical analysis essay, and a persuasive (argument) essay. This section represents 55 percent of your total score.

Test proctors will give a ten-minute break between Part I and Part II. (Your AP English Language and Composition instructor is not allowed to proctor your exam.)


The multiple-choice section of the exam is scored by machine. Scores on the multiple-choice section are based only on the number of questions answered correctly. Points are not deducted for incorrect answers and no points are awarded for unanswered questions.

The three essays are scored by College Board readers in early June. Readers include college professors and experienced AP English teachers who meet for this purpose. These readers score essays using scoring guides created by the College Board's test development committee for this exam. Your essay is not identified by name or geographical location.

The scores from Part I and Part II are combined to create a composite score. Scores are reported to students and designated colleges in July.


5 Extremely well qualified

4 Well qualified

3 Qualified

2 Possibly qualified

1 No recommendation

Qualification means you may receive college credit or advanced placement at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

In their information to students, the College Board writes that, "You may be very surprised to see that your composite score can be approximately two-thirds of the total possible score and you could still earn a grade of 5!" Earning that score on other exams might translate to an "F" at worst and a "D" at best. In other words, you do not have to get all the multiple-choice questions correct or write perfect essays to get a high score on the exam.

In the 2017 figures reported by the College Board, 55 percent of all students who took the exam scored a 3 or higher. And while only about 9 percent of students scored a 5, which says a bit about the difficulty of the exam, you should focus on the high number who passed. A score of 3, 4, or 5 will commonly earn you college credits or placement, but always check with your intended colleges for their AP credit policy.


What you can (should have) and cannot have in the exam room:


1. Eat well in the weeks prior to the exam. Since the AP English Language exam is generally scheduled in the morning, get used to eating breakfast, so that you can eat a good breakfast on exam day. A good breakfast for your brain consists of fruit, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. Also, drink water instead of sugared drinks. Energy drinks are notoriously loaded with sugar and should be avoided.

2. Get enough sleep and not just the night before the exam. Establish good sleep patterns in the weeks prior to the exam. High school students typically do not get enough sleep. Aim for 8–9 hours a night.

3. Wake up early enough to be fully awake and ready to go on exam day. Set your alarm so you don't oversleep. You don't want to be groggy!

4. Caffeine may help you be more alert, but overdoing it can make you jittery and make it difficult for you to focus. If you are not accustomed to caffeine, don't have any on exam day.

5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes on the day of the exam. Prepare for fluctuations in room temperature by wearing layers that you can adjust.

See more in Chapter 2 about what you can do to prepare for exam day.

Test Tip

Don't take my word for it. Research the effect of health and wellness on academic performance. You'll enhance your informed and active reading skills by doing this research.


The Student's Tools: What You Can Do to Ensure Success

Diligence is the mother of good luck. — Benjamin Franklin


Any study text is useless if you don't pair it with your best intentions. This brief chapter simply outlines what you can do to enhance your own success.


You may have heard the saying, "What's worth doing, is worth doing well." This is so true for your preparation for the AP English Language and Composition exam. While the title of this book is AP English Language and Composition Crash Course, it will be very difficult for you to literally cram in a short period of time. The information and tips you get in this book will help you either way, but it is best if you start early enough to really learn what you need to know. Except for some literary terms, there is little in this text that you can actually memorize. Instead, you need to develop your reading, writing, and thinking skills.

It is best to give yourself at least six to nine months to prepare for the exam. If that is not possible, then a few weeks of serious review with this book will definitely help you earn a higher score on the exam.


1. Read the entire book, making notes about which chapters are important for you to study. New research shows that handwritten notes (versus digital or e-notes) are better to help us remember information. Focus on what you need to know instead of what you already know.

2. Make a goal sheet, listing specific tasks for the upcoming months. Examples of these tasks might be:

• Read and study several texts, maybe two books and four articles. (See Chapter 4 for a list of authors and texts.)

• Practice annotating all the texts you read.

3. Good goals have time limits, so be sure to state when you plan to meet your goals.

4. Re-read this book as often as necessary to reinforce ideas. Most people will not remember everything they read the first time.

5. Make a short list of the five most important skills you need to improve before test time, such as reading complex texts or understanding satire. Find ways to practice those skills.

6. Form a study team with friends who are also taking the exam. Learn from each other. Here are some reasons to form a study team:

• Quizzing each other on terms can help you remember them.

• You can share your essays with your group. Peer review can help you see strengths and weaknesses in your writing, and by reading others' work, you can learn from them as well.

• If you all read the same books, you can discuss them, which helps to understand a text more completely.

7. If you get frustrated, try these strategies:

• Analyze the reason for your frustration. Why are you frustrated? What can you do to lessen how you feel?

• Take a short break to refocus: go for a walk without headphones. Let nature (or the city) help you get out of yourself for awhile.

• Talk to your study group and vent, but then find ways together to get back on track.

• Ask your teacher for help.


• Penmanship counts! Not everyone has good penmanship, but in preparation for the exam, you should do as much as you can to improve your penmanship. If your essays are not written legibly, you are jeopardizing your score. You cannot expect tired, overworked AP exam readers to struggle with your essay needlessly because they cannot read your handwriting. When you write your practice essays, always use blue or black ink and always write with an imagined reader in mind.

• This exam is about scholarship. Think of yourself as you embark on this "quest" as an upper-level scholar — a college student, really. If you wear the garb of a scholar, even metaphorically, it will influence how you think about things.

• Your attitude is more important than you think — it influences everything, even your physical well-being. A positive attitude will give you energy and confidence. A negative attitude will:

— Limit your ability to read carefully (you'll want to rush, skim, or get it over with);

— Lead to frustration and fatigue;

— Keep you from having an open mind;

— Possibly infect others, giving them doubt about their own abilities.

• Study hard and take the exam seriously. Remember, however, that this is just one test of what you know at this point in your life. It is not the most important thing you will ever do. Try to keep it all in perspective. Try to have fun with all of this.


Classifying Nonfiction: Genres, Patterns, and Purposes

Writing is writing, and stories are stories. Perhaps the only true genres are fiction and non-fiction. And even there, who can be sure? — Tanith Lee


The word genre means "type." There are many and diverse types of literature in the nonfiction realm, which seems to change daily, especially with Web platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Are profile updates or tweets considered genres? Some of you have probably read multi-genre novels, like Avi's Nothing But the Truth and have seen how authors weave nontraditional forms with more traditional narratives to create interesting and new types of fictional texts.

Nonfiction authors have also blurred the line between fiction and nonfiction in the latter part of the twentieth century, blending the elements of fiction (imagery, figurative language, suspense, and even dialogue) with nonfiction prose. In general, this blend is called Creative Nonfiction.

The essay itself is said to have originated with French writer Michel de Montaigne, whose short, topic-focused essays set the standard for what followed. For Montaigne, the act of writing the essay was the act of discovering knowledge. He was writing to know. This may also be your essay experience on the AP English Language and Composition exam, as you will be pondering and writing about topics that you may not normally think about in your daily life. You will be writing to know.

To that end, the exam presents you with many engaging texts to read, to think about, and to write about. It is impossible to predict the actual genres of the texts you'll encounter on your exam, as the field is so rich and diverse. Surely, whatever the selections are, you can be certain that they will be "stylistically engaging" and "intricately constructed," according to the College Board's AP English Language Course Description.

What does this mean? Mostly it means that while the texts should prove interesting (topically), they will present a challenge for you. They will be complex enough to put your thinking to the test, which is the point, after all, isn't it?

One purpose of this chapter is to suggest the types of literature that you may encounter on the exam and to briefly describe them. There generally are one or two questions on the exam that ask you to identify a specific genre. This chapter will help. In the "old days," nonfiction meant biography, autobiography, factual reference, and essay, as well as a few others. These days, the list is much longer. Which genre are you most interested in reading? If you think a memoir sounds interesting, you might pick up that copy of The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion from your mother's bookshelf. It wouldn't be a bad start to your study. If your sense of history is lacking depth, you could read a biography, which would help you expand your knowledge not just of a person, but more importantly, his or her impact on events. Choose biographies of historically impactful people over those of celebrities.

Depending on how much time you have, try to read a few books to deepen your overall knowledge, which will help you in more than one way on this exam.

This chapter also details the specific patterns of exposition that you are likely to encounter in your reading. You should also be able to use these patterns in your own writing. See Chapter 17 for more information on general essay writing.


The following list is not complete, but does include the genres you are most likely to encounter on the exam based on a study of released exams. No matter what the genre, the writer's purposes can be layered and often are. A diary can provide information, chronicle a life, and also describe and persuade. The letters John and Abigail Adams wrote to each other tell us more than details of their lives; these letters are also important historical documents.

Remember also that fictional elements are now used widely in nonfiction, an overlap that makes it difficult to determine exact distinctions between fiction and nonfiction.

Test Tip

If you are given an excerpt on the exam, you may be asked to infer the broader context, such as from what genre it was likely excerpted or the probable identity of the intended audience.


While writers may have one main purpose in mind, they may achieve more than one simultaneously. You will be asked to determine the writer's purpose on the exam and should choose the author's main or dominant reason for writing.


Representative Authors and Texts

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think. — Martin Luther King, Jr.


In the Course Description, the College Board acknowledges that there is "no recommended or required reading list for an AP English Language and Composition course." However, they do give a list of authors that is "designed to illustrate the possibilities of nonfiction prose."

The purpose of this chapter is to give you a sense of the diversity of literature you will encounter on the AP English Language exam. In preparing for the exam, look to read a variety of texts, even if you only read partial texts. Many of the older works are in the public domain and can be found online. If you have an e-reader, you can download them easily. And don't overlook the fact that a public library is still an amazing place. I am sure that even the smallest local library is going to have many works by these writers on its shelves.


Most of the selections you will read will be nonfiction, but as that overall genre has changed dramatically over the years, a diverse spectrum indeed awaits you. This is not to say that you will never see a poem or a fictional selection on the exam. You might. But it will not be typical.


Excerpted from "AP English Language and Composition Crash Course"
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Copyright © 2018 Research & Education Association, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of Research & Education Association.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

About Our Book v

About Our Author vi

Part I Introduction

Chapter 1 Keys for Success on the AP English Language and Composition Exam 3

Chapter 2 The Student's Tools: What You Can Do to Ensure Success 7

Chapter 3 Classifying Nonfiction: Genres, Patterns, and Purposes 11

Chapter 4 Representative Authors and Texts 21

Part II Elements of Argument, Style, and Rhetoric

Chapter 5 Basic Elements of Language 43

Chapter 6 Rhetoric and Rhetorical Strategies 53

Chapter 7 Logical Fallacies 71

Chapter 8 The Writer's Tools: Diction, Tone, Style, Imagery, and Figurative Language 75

Chapter 9 Syntax: Sentence Construction and Word Order 85

Chapter 10 Grammar Basics 93

Part III Analytical Reading and Thinking

Chapter 11 Engaged and Active Reading 113

Chapter 12 Enhancing Vocabulary 123

Chapter 13 The Value of Perspective: Why Point of View Matters 133

Chapter 14 The World of Ideas: Philosophies, Concepts, and Literary Themes 141

Chapter 15 Irony and Satire: Reading Between the Lines 161

Part IV Research and Writing

Chapter 16 Free-Response Questions 179

Chapter 17 Essay Basics: Creating Excellence Through - Structure, Style, and Voice 193

Chapter 18 Citing and Documenting Sources Effectively 221

Chapter 19 Free-Response Question 1: The Synthesis Essay 231

Chapter 20 Free-Response Question 2: Rhetorical Analysis 257

Chapter 21 Free-Response Question 3: The Persuasive Essay 269

Chapter 22 Six Tips for Better Essays 279

Part V Mastering the Multiple-Choice Section

Chapter 23 General Test-Taking Strategies 285

Chapter 24 Types of Questions in the Multiple-Choice Section 289

Chapter 25 Practice Multiple-Choice Questions 295

Reiteration: Advice Worth Restating 315

References 319

Online Practice Exam rea.com/studycenter

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